Former Attorney General Peter Grech has defended his track record, asserting that he never failed to take action on any crime where police investigations showed a reasonable chance of a conviction.
Grech reached out to Lovin Malta following the publication of an article which included him in a list of high-people public figures who resigned last year and which referred to criticism that was aired at him for failing to take action against white-collar crime.
“You are no doubt aware that before the 1st October 2020, the Office of the Attorney General did not take decisions to prosecute which were legally entrusted to the Police,” he said.
“The claims about alleged failure to take action therefore have to be seen in this context. Prosecutions could not be instituted bu the Office of the Attorney General. I assert that never in my long career did I fail to take action on any crime (white collar or not) where proof resulting from an investigation showed a reasonable chance of a conviction.”
Grech also countered criticism over a note he had sent the police in 2016, warning them about the risk they’d have entailed by seizing the servers of Nexia BT, the financial services company at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal.
He said it was unknown whether the servers did in fact contain any data relating to the Panama Papers and that his advice to police pertained to the legal risk entailed in physically seizing the servers of an active accountancy firm and not about any specific data known to be in those servers.
“Above all, the advice did not exclude such a seizure but warned that it had to be well founded in an appropriate level of reasonable suspicion.”
His advice did not exclude a potential future seizure.
Grech was Malta’s Attorney General for ten years but faced heavy criticism in recent years, with former Opposition leaders Adrian Delia and Simon Busuttil both calling for his resignation.
He tendered his resignation last August, shortly after Prime Minister Robert Abela suggested a change was in the offing.
His role was also split in two, with the AG now taking over high-level prosecutions of major crimes such as murder and money laundering from the police, and a new State Advocate in charge of giving the government legal advice.